Biz Kids: Making earrings and a profit, too

Story by CBC Kids News • 2019-03-27 15:13

The four girls behind Beach Coast Earrings won a youth entrepreneurship award

No need for a weekly allowance when you can make your own money!
Lots of Canadian kids run their own businesses, but how exactly do they pull it off?
Check out the first instalment in our Biz Kids series.

It’s a Wednesday morning and four girls from Halifax are sitting around a dining room table making earrings.

It’s an activity usually reserved for weekends.

But this morning, they’ll be late for school so they can first be interviewed by CBC News about their business, Beach Coast Earrings.

“When we tell people about our business ... they’re really, really shocked,” says Isabelle MacNeil.

She and her friend Madison Houghton, also 12, started the business in the summer of 2018 with their younger sisters, Emerson MacNeil, 8 and Megan Houghton, 10.

Four girls sit around a table with materials to make earrings.

From left, Isabelle MacNeil, Megan Houghton, Emerson MacNeil and Madison Houghton say they always find time to make earrings for their business because it’s something they enjoy. (Submitted by Judy Hynes MacNeil)

Fans of CBC Kids News may know that Isabelle is a kid contributor.

The roles are reversed this time though, as she is the one being interviewed. The girls behind Beach Coast Earrings just won an award.

“It’s really an honour to be recognized for having the business. Because we just started over the summer [of 2018],” says Isabelle.

It’s the Youth Entrepreneurship Award and it’s being given out by Family Business Atlantic, an organization that supports business growth in Atlantic Canada.

A girl pushes down on clay with her hand and another paints small beads.

Isabelle MacNeil, left, and Madison Houghton, right, say they are really excited about winning an award. (Submitted by Judy Hynes MacNeil)

The girls  got the idea for the business after going to a youth entrepreneurship camp.

Their earrings are inspired by their love of the East Coast, and the designs reflect that.

“We think of a thought that we have in our head. Maybe it’s the ocean, the night sky and we create the earrings,” says Madison.

“I think our earrings are so special because they’re made by youth and they’re homemade and they’re local.”

Some of the styles incorporate sand that the girls collected at beaches in the Maritimes.

Small, round, colourful earrings.

The earrings come in two sizes and sell for $5 a pair. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

They made an initial investment of $600 and so far have made about $1,000 in profit, which they split evenly.

They sell them on Instagram, at craft fairs and to their friends and family.

They’re hoping to expand to some local shops.

Four girls around a table at a craft fair.

Beach Coast Earrings are sold at craft fairs in and around Halifax. (Submitted by Judy Hynes MacNeil)

They also donate 10 per cent of their profits to two charities, the children’s hospital in Halifax (the IWK) and Diabetes Canada.

They do that “because we’re part of a community and it’s important to give back your share,” says Megan.

Megan Houghton says she and her business partners decided to make earrings ‘because we’re really creative.’ (Craig Paisley/CBC)

As soon as the interview is over, the girls head off to school.

They’ll be making more earrings soon, though, as it’s an activity they love so they always find time for it.

“It’s really fun. And we do it all as a team,” says Emerson.

At eight years old, Emerson MacNeil is the youngest member of the Beach Coast Earrings team. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

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